9 Things to Know When Choosing An Orthodontist

Which Orthodontist Do I Choose?

  1. The obvious and easiest place to get started is with your current friends, neighbors and colleagues. If those friends and social contacts are parents, in particular, they are often great resources when you need to find an Orthodontist. Find out which Orthodontist they use and why… and, if they sought out multiple opinions why they didn’t choose a particular Orthodontist.
  1. At Reagin Orthodontics, we often hear from future patients that they have had great success by doing some background checking of their own. Check out the Orthodontist on social media as well as the orthodontist’s website. Do they have positive reviews? Is their website up to date? Instagram? Facebook? Look for an Orthodontist that is involved in social media as it is a good indication that they are committed to newer technology.
  1. When it comes to braces or Invisalign, make sure that you are seeing an Orthodontist and not a dentist. An Orthodontist is a general dentist with at least three more years of advanced training. Make sure that the Orthodontist has the required education, degrees and training.
  1. Before you choose an Orthodontist make sure that you have a thorough initial consultation.   Your consultation should include a physical exam as well as x-rays and photographs.   An Orthodontist should meet with you for a complimentary exam to determine your needs. This first appointment is an ideal time to learn both your Orthodontist’s philosophy of care. Additionally, get a feel for the office and the office team —see how helpful and friendly the staff may be, how welcoming the environment is and how clean the practice is kept.
  1. Most importantly, do not ever be afraid to ask questions. Ask every single question that comes to mind, no matter how insignificant it may seem. You need to be able to discern whether your Orthodontist will be open to his/her patient asking questions, and to assess how well the Orthodontist can help you understand the answers to the questions you’ve asked.
  1. Consider where your Orthodontist lives. This is a good indication of how vested they are in the community. Will the investment you are making in orthodontic care come back to your community?
  1. How many doctors are at the office? Seeing more than one doctor for orthodontic care can significantly increase your treatment time. I would liken it to changing architects mid project. Sure it can be done, but it is not the most efficient method.
  1. How many offices do they have? Typically the more offices the higher volume of patients the Orthodontist will see at each location. The more patients per day the less time they have to spend with you. Additionally, rescheduled appointments and emergency appointments might not be at the office near you. With fewer offices or only one office the Orthodontist has the advantage of seeing a lower volume of patients and can emphasize quality of care. And with one office you always know where you are going for your appointments.
  1. It is good to know that most office visits are every 8-10 weeks if the Orthodontist is using the latest technology in their office. Additionally, Technology and treatment philosophy can vary greatly among orthodontist depending on where they were educated and how committed they are to continuing education.

Take the time to find the right person and the right practice as you move towards a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime.

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Orthodontic Checkup–WHY age 7??

PMZ_5418 Orthodontic checkup-Why age 7?

Many parents assume they must wait until their child has all of his or her permanent teeth in the mouth to have their first orthodontic check-up. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that every child get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7. “I would like to emphasize how important it is that parents understand the value of an orthodontic check- up,” says Dr. Reagin. “By age 7, enough permanent teeth have erupted for an orthodontist to evaluate relationships between the teeth, face, and bite”.

At your 1st appointment, the initial orthodontic exam, Dr. Reagin may find that your child’s bite is fine; however Dr. Reagin may identify a developing problem and recommend monitoring the child’s growth and development at a consistent interval. In other cases Dr. Reagin may find a problem that would benefit from early treatment. Evidence shows that approximately 25% of children seen at an initial orthodontic exam can benefit from early orthodontic intervention.

Early treatment benefits include:

  • Guide jaw growth
  • Lower the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Create space for erupting teeth
  • Improve appearance and self esteem
  • Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position

When indicated, early treatment may often prevent more serious problems from developing and make treatment at a later stage shorter and less complicated. In some cases Dr. Reagin will be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaw have finished growing.

“A visit to the orthodontist can ease a parent’s mind, too,” notes Dr. Reagin. Through an early orthodontic evaluation, you’ll be giving your child the very best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile.

Keep in mind that if your child is older than 7, it’s certainly not too late for a check-up at Reagin Orthodontics. Dr. Reagin’s goal is to provide each patient with the appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.

To schedule a complimentary consult with Dr. Reagin call our office at 843-871-4411. Note that a dental referral is not necessary.

Fluoride and Your Orthodontic Treatment

fluoride and braces

Most children and adults have experienced a fluoride treatment many times at their dentist’s office prior to their first visit to an orthodontist. Fluoride helps protect teeth from tooth decay. It is most effective when it is used prior to decay forming, but it can also repair decay in the beginning stages.

Fluoride continues to be beneficial to your teeth while your are in orthodontic treatment. It is one element, that in addition to brushing and flossing after every meal will make that smile of yours even more beautiful when your braces are removed. Fluoride treatments continue to protect against tooth decay while you are in braces and can also aid in preventing white spots, or decalcification, from forming around your braces. While in treatment fluoride mouthwashes, antibacterial rinses and toothpastes may also be added to add additional protection.

At Reagin Orthodontics, your complete dental health is important us. We will talk to you about how to care for your teeth and braces at each appointment and will recommend additional fluoride and other items as needed along the way.

Learn more about the benefits of fluoride in our previous posts here and here. You can also find out facts about fluoride from the American Dental Assoication.

Is Wearing Your Retainers Really Important?

wearing retainers

You have diligently cared for your teeth and braces the entire time you have worn your braces. You are excited that today is the day they will be removed! What’s next you wonder. Now you need to maintain that beautiful smile and that involves wearing retainers.

Impressions are taken to make molds specifically for your mouth, then retainers are made from those molds to keep your teeth in place. Wearing your retainers and taking care of them is just as important as caring for your braces.

Follow these guidelines to care for your teeth and retainers:

Wear your retainers all the time, unless you are told differently by Dr. Reagin

When you eat, remove your retainers and put them in their case. Do not put them on a lunch tray or in a napkin, that is the way most retainers are lost because they get thrown away!

Brush your retainers with warm water and toothpaste. Take them out and really brush them. Plaque builds up on them. You want to remove the plaque which will also help to eliminate odors.

Retainers are breakable so always place them in your retainer case when they are not in your mouth.

Retainers should not be worn when swimming, should not be put in hot water, left in hot cars or on car dashboards or stuffed in your pockets.

Caring for your retainers and wearing them regularly will keep you proud of your smile for years to come. If something does happen and you need new retainers, Dr. Reagin can make you a new set, but it is expensive. If you are worried about losing or breaking your retainers it is a good idea to take advantage of the discount we offer all our patients at debonding. You can buy a second set at the same time as your first set for half price. This offer is only available at debonding because the same mold can be used and a new mold does not have to be made.

To learn more about retainers and caring for them visit our website 

April is National Facial Protection Month

sports mouth guards

Each April the dental community joins together to promote National Facial Protection month. It is the perfect time of year to bring attention to how important it is to protect your teeth, gum and full mouth from injury during all the spring sports.

Helmets and mouth guards go a long way when it comes to protecting your smile and bite. Reagin Orthodontics can help you with one of those items – a custom fitted mouth guard. Many injuries can be prevented by wearing this simple appliance.  Patients sometimes worry about being able to talk and breath while wearing one, but that is only a problem with the one-size-fits all variety found at retailers. Not with one specifically fitted for you by a dental professional.

The American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons put together this comparison chart with the pros and cons of the different type of mouth guards.

You do not have to be a patient of  Dr. Reagin’s to be fitted for a mouth guard. All you need to do is call and make an appointment! If you are a patient and need a mouth guard, make a point to talk to Dr. Reagin about being fitted prior to beginning sports. It is something he does for all of his patients that need one.  Trust us, once you have a mouth guard fitted for your mouth and feel how easy it is to wear one, you will wonder why you ever waited!

What is the Ideal Age to Begin Orthodontic Treatment?

Brit Reagin

There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Some children need to enter treatment in elementary school, while others are well into middle school before intervention is ideal. Interesting though is that there is a one-size-fits-all-answer as to when a child should first be evaluated by an orthodontist. An evaluation should take place at age seven, according to The American Association of Orthodontists.

The first adult molars are often coming in around age seven and evaluation at that time can assess if there is something that may become a problem down the road and steps can be taken early to prevent the problem from developing.  A child’s bite can be examined and potential crowding can be seen at this point. If treatment is not recommended at the initial evaluation, Dr. Reagin will recommend when a child should be seen again for continued monitoring.

Advantages of early evaluation and possible treatment are:

Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth

Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth

Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth

Preserving space for unerupted teeth

Reducing the need for tooth removal

Reducing treatment time with braces

Correcting bite problems that can lead to chewing difficulties, speech impediments and likelihood of chipping teeth.

Early treatment is not necessary in every case, but establishing a relationship with an orthodontist and beginning a regular evaluation schedule can ensure that treatment will begin at the optimal time to make the most difference in a child’s bite and smile.

Dr. Reagin provides a free consultation to all new patients. Call the office today and make an appointment for you child.

February is Dental Health Month

how to brush your teeth

The American Dental Association spreads the word about dental health during the month of February, focusing on pre-schoolers and kindergartners. It is important to teach children how to care for their teeth at an early age in order for it to become a life long habit.

Everyone whether you wear braces or not should brush their teeth at least twice a day – in the morning and before bed for 2 minutes each time. If at all possible it is better if you can add in a third brushing after lunch. The sooner you brush after eating the less time food has to sit and grow bacteria. It is also important to floss after brushing to catch any particles that may have been missed by your toothbrush.

Braces wearers should brush after each time they eat. There are a lot more places for food particles to hide and get stuck in braces. There are special flossers for braces wearers to make sure all spaces are reached. These flossers look like a little Christmas tree and allow you to get under and around all the wires.

Reagin Orthodontics promotes dental hygiene month by sending out our own personal tooth fairy to visit schools and talk to children about their teeth and how to care for them! She has been visiting area schools for the past two weeks and we can’t wait to share some photos with you at the end of the month. In the meantime, visit our Facebook page to see a few and add an extra brushing into today!

Give the Gift of a New Smile

valentines day

Are you trying to figure out a perfect Valentine’s Day Gift for your sweetheart? The best gifts are the ones someone would never purchase for themselves, but you know they would love. You’ve probably done a spa day or a golf trip before for that very reason. So what could you possibly dream up that would surprise them? How about giving them the gift of a beautiful smile?

Has your Valentine always wanted to change their smile? Maybe they didn’t have braces when they were younger or maybe they did, but there are some things that still bother them about their teeth. Valentine’s Day is a great time to give the gift of a new smile because it shows you were listening to what matters to your special someone and you are truly giving from the heart.

You can even give yourself the gift of a new smile for Valentine’s Day! People buy themselves boxes of chocolates and flowers, why not do something for yourself that you keep putting off?

Reagin Orthodontics offers a free consultation to every new patient, so what are you waiting for? Sometimes the phone call is the hardest! Take the leap for yourself or someone else and schedule an appointment. At the consultation Dr. Reagin will take x-rays, do an exam and discuss what each person is looking for in their new smile. He will talk to the patient about their options and in some cases treatment can even start that day! So go on call us today, we promise you won’t regret doing something this wonderful for your Valentine or yourself!

The Truth About Bottled Water and Your Teeth

fluoride and your teeth

Let’s face it bottled water is part of all of our lives and there are certainly some benefits for it! Having the option to buy bottled water at a gas station or convenience mart on a road trip is a great improvement over only having sodas or juices as our choices. Believe it or not that option has only been prevalent since the 1990’s. In 1987 the average American drank six gallons of bottled water a year. In 2010 the average American drank 28 gallons of bottled water a year!

All this bottled water has had an effect on tooth decay as well. The majority of store bought waters do not contain fluoride, while most tap water does. When fluoride was added to water in the 1950’s there was 29% reduction in tooth decay among four to 17 year olds.  According to Dr. Burton Edestein, president of the Children’s Dental Health Project in Washington, D.C. and a professor of dentistry and health policy and management at New York City’s Columbia University in 2012, 1 in 10 two year olds, 1 in 5 three year olds, 1 in 3 four year olds and nearly half of all 5 year olds had tooth decay. Leading most researchers to believe that it is a direct effect of the reduction in fluoride consumed by our nation’s children.

So how can we help our children get the fluoride they need for strong healthy teeth? If the tap water at your house has fluoride you can simply drink tap water. If you prefer filtering your household water to eliminate possible contaminants choose a filter that does not eliminate fluoride, such as this one. You can also choose fluoride fortified foods when available and use a toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association .

Children’s teeth absorb the most fluoride, but continuing to get fluoride throughout your life will help keep your teeth strong and healthy for years to come. So take time to consider your fluoride intake and ensure that you and your children are receiving an adequate amount!

What is a Maxillary Expander?

Palatal expander, expander, maxillary expander are all names for the same orthodontic appliance. Have you heard your child's friends talk about needing one of these? Are you wondering if your child will too? A maxillary expander is used to widen a child's arch before the growth plate in the roof of the mouth is fused. These devices are used to correct a posterior crossbite or alleviate extreme crowding.

The device looks more intimidating than it actually is. It is attached to the the back teeth and a screw is inserted each night to turn it ever so slightly.  Over the course of several weeks the palate is expanded in order to correct the problems.

Patients sometimes report feeling pressure on their teeth, in their noses or under their eyes. They sometimes get a headache due to the pressure. Over-the-counter medications such as Advil and Tylenol can help with any discomfort that is felt.

Only your orthodontist can determine if you need a maxillary expander. Dr. Reagin will take a series of x-rays and do an exam to determine if one is needed in your treatment plan. They are not necessary in all treatment plans and using one when there is not a problem, will create a problem.

Wondering what they look like and what a typical child has to say about how it feels. We filmed one of our patients, Hughston Reagin, after he had his expander placed.  See what it looks like and what Dr. Reagin’s oldest son has to say about it!